A minority of schools in Indonesia are Pesantren, private Islamic boarding schools. Similar to parochial schools in the USA, parents often send their kids to pesantren because they want them to get a more rigorous religious education. And rigorous it is! A teacher (not in a Pesantren) in Bangka told us that a friend of hers had a daughter in Pesantren and had to pull her out because the demands were too high. She said that in addition to regular studies, chores, and homework, students were required to recite Qur'an (In Islam, memorizing the entire Qur'an is a great virtue and honored accomplishment) from 10pm until 12am, and then were up again memorizing from 4am to 6am. The woman said her daughter was too wiped out after a year so she moved her to an Islamic day school. (FYI--all schools in Indonesia receive government funding).
(Above) Students watch as we begin our speeches and answer questions.
One of about a thousand photos. Everywhere we go, people want to take photos and every presentation ends with a minumum 10 minutes worth of photos. This was the first day I decided to wear shorts and of course, the first place where I couldn't wear shorts :) Sorong was actually pretty comfortable, but a bit strange being in a picture with all women and being the only one in a dresss. The background is a sign that was churned out in one day. As you can see, they are into degrees.
Students live at Pesantren in rooms with 5-10 people.
The Pesantren is a often a self-sustaining farm/school. Thus there are facilities for slaughtering animals, preparing food, farming, washing clothing etc. Students oftentimes contribute to these jobs.
(Above). Unlike most students in broader Indonesia, students at Pesantren dress conservatively. The longer the jilbab (headcovering), the more conservative. So here, it is quite conservative as it descends to the waist.